The co-founder of Russian internet giant Yandex, Arkady Volozh, has slammed his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Arkady Volozh on Thursday condemned what he described as Russia’s “barbaric” invasion of Ukraine, and said he is horrified about the fate of people in Ukraine whose houses are being bombed every day, Reuters reported.

The comment comes days after he faced criticism in Russian media and Telegram channels over his apparent efforts to distance himself from the country, when he described himself as a “Kazakhstan-born, Israeli tech entrepreneur” on a personal website.

“Barbaric” invasion

Volozh has also been criticised by those opposed to Russia’s actions for not speaking out more forcefully against the war, Reuters noted.

But now he has come out strongly against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is barbaric, and I am categorically against it,” Volozh was quoted as saying in a statement. “I am horrified about the fate of people in Ukraine – many of them my personal friends and relatives – whose houses are being bombed every day.”

“Although I moved to Israel in 2014, I have to take my share of responsibility for the country’s actions,” Volozh reportedly wrote, who holds both Russian and Israeli passports.

According to Reuters, Volozh developed Yandex in Russia, creating the country’s largest tech company and ultimately taking it public on the US Nasdaq stock exchange in 2011.

He stepped down as CEO and left the board of directors after the European Union included him on its list of sanctions against Russian entities and individuals in June 2022.

Volozh reportedly called the EU’s decision “misguided”.

Enemy of the state?

Reuters reported that Volozh said his focus since the start of the war had been on supporting Russian engineers wanting to leave the country.

“These people are now out, and in a position to start something new, continuing to drive technological innovation,” Volozh reportedly said. “They will be a tremendous asset to the countries in which they land.”

There is some personal danger for Volozh, for speaking out against Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Indeed, the move could put him in the crosshairs of Moscow and President Putin.

Russian critics of Putin and the Ukraine war tend to find themselves either in prison, accidentally drinking poison, or accidentally falling out of windows.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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